Feeding Birds in Winter - Success Begins With Fall Feeding

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/23/2006 | Hobbies
Looking for birds this winter? Then start preparing in the fall otherwise your yard may remain empty no matter how tantalizing the treats and abundant the offerings.

"Why Do I Need to Start in the Fall?"

Birds are already planning their mid-winter meals early in the fall. During the winter they will need more food to keep warm than they did in the milder months but much of their natural food supplies will be hard to access. Berries, seeds and insects have disappeared or gone under cover of frost and snow.

While you may not find much attention paid to a full feeder in the fall, be assured that the local wild birds are taking note. They will be looking for easy food sources for later on - checking the type and quantity of food available. Once they have found several good sources they will be sure to make an appearance when the cold weather comes.

"What if I Wait Until Winter?"

The problem with waiting until the winter to start your supply is that the birds will already have found their food sources. With the colder weather they can't waste energy searching for new sources. Making sure they know where you are earlier in the year will improve your chances at being a first stop instead of a last resort.

"How Do I Attract Them?"

Water is a big draw - especially in winter when other sources may have frozen solid. Offering fresh water daily will encourage birds to your yard for feeding as well. You could also try a warmer for your bird bath. Some warmers will turn on when the water is near freezing, ensuring a plentiful supply of unfrozen water for your guests.

To attract as many varieties of birds as possible, distribute the feed on a variety of surfaces and levels. Even if your feeder is well stocked, certain types of birds will prefer a different area from the rest.

Offer some feed in a tree hanging feeder, distribute more seed on the ground and more on ledges or railings. Placing it where you can easily see the birds will provide you the most entertainment.

"What If I Leave During the Winter?"

Due to their scouting early in the fall your feathered friends will know of other sources of food if yours runs out. However, if you're not away make sure to keep the supply available or you may just loose your pals to a more diligent neighbor!